Release Date: Jun 30, 2015
Record label: Doghouse
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop
You can take Matt Pond out of Pennsylvania, but apparently you can't take the PA out of Matt Pond. After 2013's The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand, the prolific New York-based singer/songwriter's first proper solo album, Pond reconvened with the loose-knit ensemble of collaborators who have long made up his band and recorded The State of Gold, the tenth album under the matt pond PA banner. The world-weary yet hopeful everyman style he has perfected over time remains partially in effect, but the decidedly slick production provides a surprisingly effective frame for an album Pond considers to be about "defeating my greatest enemy -- myself.
Matt Pond has established himself as an artist who expertly crafts tunes that feel like they were tailor-made for sad teenagers yearning to feel sophisticated. The State of Gold finds Pond, who has spent close to two decades writing chamber pop-tinged guitar rock, pulling a sonic U-turn. It doesn’t feel out of line with his body of work thus far — just maybe more diluted, less visceral, less urgent.
The snare and kick drum launching Matt Pond PA’s flaccid new full length, The State of Gold, welcomes listeners to a featureless landscape. The lumbering 4/4 time signature could be the foundation of “We Will Rock You” or any number of generic stadium-aspiring pop rock songs from the last 40 years. A shuddering synthesizer rises into the frame, giving the opening measure a fleeting sense of momentum before singer-songwriter Matt Pond extinguishes it.